Last Friday Night while in GR, I was invited to participate with a group of people that do a triathlon every Friday night. I think I mentioned this in a previous entry but have only now realized, I never wrote about it. Been a lot going on 🙂
While I was excited and in some way honored to have been invited to this, I was also intimidated. I am quite a social person and don’t get intimidated easily by meeting new people but this was a rare occasion where I was. The girl who invited me, I hardly know. I have met her on a couple of occasions but that is about it. Outside of her, I didn’t know anyone else going. I tried to entice Coach along and had he not had to be up at 5 AM or some awful hour like that to do his own triathlon training as well as having a prior commitment, I might have been able to.
My reasons for being intimidated go beyond not knowing anyone. The intimidation really lay in my insecurity over my ability to do 2 events back to back and in front of people I do not know. I wasn’t sure how the event would run. Does everyone wait for all participants to complete a leg before moving on? If so, I did not want to hold anyone back. I am slow. While I have participated in 2 events already some of that insecurity went away simply because I had my “fans” there. No matter what anyone else thought at these events, I had my people there who would love me still, win or lose or die trying. In front of my “fans” it doesn’t matter that I have nothing CLOSE to tri gear. I wear a skirted swimsuit. But what would these people think of this? Then, how was I gonna handle the transition? Do I take enough time to completely change? Run in my swimsuit only (oh heck no!) Or do I simply throw my running clothes on over my suit and take off? So many intimidating factors and only intimidating because I cared what these strangers thought of me trying to do this thing that incredibly athletic people do, and well if you look at me, I am not incredibly athletic…yet.
So I show up and as I am driving in, my stomach begins the acrobatics that it has come to enjoy of late. There are about a dozen people standing around, mostly men, and they look like super athletes. They have cool matching gear. They are stretching and flexing, getting ready to do their great feats of strength. They remind me of Coach, except Coach I know. And I know he is nice and encouraging and not arrogant about his abilities (mostly anyway :-)hee hee)
Quick text to Coach: I can’t do this!!
Quick text back: YES YOU CAN! Make me proud!
ugh, to make him proud it doesn’t require much. Really. It doesn’t. It just requires doing my best and FINISHING.
I can do this. I can. I can. I can.
I got out. Found the one girl I know. Said hello. And eventually met a few others. I have no idea of names. I was not thinking about names. I just wanted to stop standing around and get started.
We all started at 6:30 sharp. Everyone goes at their own pace and finishes when they finish and it is quite ok with them that I am not biking. As I am nearing the turn around point on the swim, I am breathing heavy (cuz of a chest cold) but am doing fine. I was not worried about the swim at all. I passed this guy as he was heading back and he said, “You can turn around now if you want!”
“No thanks! This is the easy part for me, if I quit here then I will quit in the run where it is hard! I got this!” (Besides, I promised Coach I would do the whole distance no matter what)
The man says, “well, be careful, don’t hurt yourself!”
ok, he may have had some judgement going on, but that is ok. I know my breathing sounded rough.
I finished the swim in 25 minutes. I was originally told it would be a 1/2 mile swim, but I don’t think it was quite that.
I moved on to the run. Everyone else was gone on their bikes. Decision time. Complete change or throw my running clothes on top. I opted to throw them on top…then when I get back I can jump in the lake again. 🙂
The run was rough. I am not gonna lie. It was 3.5 miles and quite hilly. I walked up the first big hill, then ran quite a ways, including 3 hills before I stopped and walked for a bit. As I was hitting the hills, you might have laughed to hear me talking out loud to myself.
“Girl, you are NOT gonna walk every hill! You got this thing. You are running. You are strong. DOn’t you DARE give up this early.” Then I was over a hill and heading down….then I repeated this for another hill and then a 3rd.
Eventually, one of the other guys caught up to me. Scared the living daylights out of me as he passed me too! It was like being in the gym with Coach again. ( He took great delight in coming up behind me and scaring the crap right out of me) I was expecting to be passed at some point, but was thinking I would be on my way BACK from the run. Then another guy passed me and I thought…”oh hell no!” I am NOT getting passed by everyone on this thing. So I started running again.
I still got passed. Every time, the passers were so encouraging, giving words of encouragement as they passed. I didn’t come in last. I finished the run in 65 minutes.
Afterward, we all sat down to a potluck meal together. As I looked around, I realized I was not in a group of super athletes. I was with people of all ages and abilities. One guy can’t swim yet, so he biked and ran. Another is just learning the sport of triathlon. No one seemed to care that I am still almost 300 lbs and attempting this sort of stuff. In fact, one guy, a cross country cyclist, acted like this was the most normal thing in the world to be sitting next to me talking about our events. Crazy!
Let’s just add this to the list of reasons to get back to GR, ASAP. This group has been doing this for 12 years. The group changes a bit from year to year and news of it spreads word of mouth. It is cool!
So now, my next event, August 29th. An all female event. I will swim and run. Coach plans on running with me, just cuz he can! Which means, there is NO WAY I will get away with walking much of it, if any part of it at all.